So you’ve made it to Etsy (or opened an online business), kudos to you! You’ve set up your beautiful shop, you’ve worked on your detailed product descriptions to overcome SEO and now you’re wondering how will people know that you’re somewhere ‘out there’.
Well… there are a few ways how these things might happen. To me, it seems the basis of it all is still this little word called ‘communication’ and various forms and strategies that are related to it.
COMMUNICATE WITH A GOAL IN MIND
It can’t be emphasized enough that creating, holding and keeping up good relationships with your customers as well as peers in your network is a MUST. Turn your ‘nice’-button to the max and start making friends. Having friends in the business scene will get you further.
If you’re able to please a customer with your products and buying experience then there’s a more likely chance that they will rave about their awesome experience to others as well. This is especially true about fashion bloggers or today’s vloggers (short for video-bloggers) who often do product reviews in front of a screen and if you’re lucky enough to get mentioned this could bring a lot of good exposure to your business.
However, getting their attention is the key to getting noticed and mentioned in their blogs or vlogs. There are many roads that might lead you there eventually – some longer, some shorter. But getting started by following their blogs, commenting on topics that are genuinely interesting for you and engaging in online conversations is a good first step.
NETWORKING IN THE NAME OF BUSINESS
Selling something online is a tough business but having a group of like-minded people support you on the way is a good start. So my suggestion to you would be to find ways how to collaborate with your fellow peers to create ‘win-win’ situations. Organize a fashion show together with other designers, join forces and set up a pop-up shop at a local fair or city in anticipation of big holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s Day etc).
Women helping other women succeed will have a better outcome than everyone trying to make it on their own. In the process of running mutually beneficial projects, you’ll make new friends and partners, get more insight into how other people are working and simply think bigger. Networking, when done the right way, leads to important new connections, meeting the right people and getting your foot in the door. Plus, it’s always great to meet people that are having similar kind of hurdles when it comes to running online businesses.
The good news is that when you’re organizing a joint effort such as a fashion showcase, a pop-up shop or a networking night it’s always a great idea to involve known local bloggers or newspapers in the events. Invite the blogger or reporter over, give them a free seat, meet up and ask for advice or invite them to come and give a talk at your networking event to educate others about blogging in general.
COLLABORATING WITH STRANGERS
Getting good collaboration offers from strangers on Etsy might initially seem the very unlikely thing to happen, however, you might be surprised. If your Etsy shop looks appealing, the quality of your product pictures is high and your personality oozes through the descriptions, then you might get picked up by other fellow Etsy sellers/bloggers. After all, on Etsy you’re both the seller as well as the buyer and everyone loves looking at pretty things.
There are 2 ways how getting noticed and offered a collaboration might happen: 1) they’ll ask you if it’s OK to blog about you and your products 2) they’ll ask you to send some free stuff that they’ll take photographs with or of, that they might video blog about and offer you some exposure through that.
The first option, of course, is the less risky business, because then you won’t have to send any free stuff to a stranger at your own cost. The least you might be asked to do is to answer questions and share your product photos. So it’s always a good idea to keep a collection of work in progress shots, images about your workspace or studio, or amazing product photos at hand. The latter, by the way, makes also great material to use on your Instagram or Facebook channels.
Option 2, as shady as it sounds, however, could also be a blessing in disguise. A fair warning before you start sending free stuff to someone: make sure you do your background check: look at the person’s blog, vlog or photographs, see how many followers they’ve got and if the audience fits your brand’s, and ask if you can use the photographs (if the person is asking your products to use on a photo shoot) later on for your own shop or blog. That way it will be a bigger win for you as well than just a vague promise of ‘exposure’ on a channel that might not even be popular.
PARTICIPATE IN OFFLINE EVENTS
Having an online shop is a big deal. But don’t forget that you’re dealing with real people and people who shop for hand-made things will more than often also want to touch your things. After all, that’s why clothes stores were invented! Same goes for jewellery and another kind of products. The more expensive your product, the more likely it is that a person will think long and hard before hitting ‘buy now’ button.
Participating in online events, such as craft fairs or beauty fairs, has a lot of advantages, in addition, to actually selling things. I personally have found it a great way to communicate my brand, introduce myself as the face of the brand and to convince people to buy my products. Once they are on the hook, keep up their interest by encouraging them to touch your products, feel the texture, try it on etc.
And don’t underestimate the power of having your business cards on the table. If you’re taking part in a big fair the people might get overwhelmed by all the choices they’re surrounded with. Having business cards available at your desk will allow possible customers to pick your card and find your Etsy shop later on online to close the sell.
Furthermore, offline craft fairs are like a buffet dinner for fashion bloggers who come to hunt down their next big article idea, favourite designer or up and coming brands. And sometimes you might just attract the eye of a tourist or travel blogger that will share their experiences and cool findings while writing about their trip to your country. If the outcome is a blog post, you’ve been successful!
JOIN FORCES WITH FELLOW SHOP OWNERS
If you’re running an online shop then the chances are that you’re active in social media as well – if you’re not, I would suggest getting busy online to draw in more traffic into your shop. The key to getting more traffic, however, is to keep a blog, make constant photo-updates on Instagram or Facebook and keep your possible fashionista buyers in the loop about what’s going on.
One quick way of getting more exposure on other people’s blogs is to take advantage of your fellow show owners and designer’s that need the exposure as much as you do. Fair warning though, as much as it seems like an easy way out, it might not leave the best of an impression if both of you are not so genuinely raving about each other’s products. I would suggest you find a more creative way of approaching things.
If you’re selling clothes, ask your blogger friend to write or video vlog about ‘outfit of the day’ or ‘3 ways to wear this piece of clothing’. It’s easy to include links in a not so obvious way to products being mentioned in such a blog post. If you’re selling jewellery then a review of ‘what’s in my jewellery box’ kind of a post might be the answers to your prayers.
Whatever you decide in the end to do… just remember to make sure the outcome won’t look like an obvious advertising piece. That kind of a reading material would not be interesting to your current customers as well as new business and it might have the complete opposite effect on the fans of your work.
LET’S WRAP IT UP
To summarize, the key to any kind of good advertising is the kind where the customer doesn’t even realize that by reading your content they’re slowly but surely being drawn into your world: so instead of selling a product, ‘sell’ an experience, a feeling, a brand.
Have you got any cool tips or tricks to share about getting your products noticed or picked up by bloggers online? If you do, don’t be shy about sharing your thoughts in the comment section below. After all… communication is the key to learning.
Kaisa is a freelance graphic designer, Jack(ie) of all Trades Creative and the creator of the brand Sylph Designs that is known for its quirky and colourful retro-vibe pixelated jewellery. Feel free to check out her Etsy shop or follow her on social media (F
Images courtasy: The daily beast, Aay Kay and Sylph designs.